ENGL 3342 American Poetry

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Spring 1997 Mon/Wed 2:30-3:50 PM

department office: metro 817-272-2692 

objective of the course: to read intensively in the work of four major American poets, and to develop skills in writing critically about poetry. 

required texts: The Works of Anne Bradstreet, ed. Jeannine Hensley (Belknap Press); The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley, ed. John Shields (Oxford); The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson (Little, Brown); Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems 1927-1979 (Noonday). All paperback. You must get these editions; if you don't you'll be completely lost. 

attendance will be taken; you may miss no more than one meeting during the semester without failing the course. Since this is a seminar course, attendance and participation are imperative. 

assignments: Twelve short papers. These papers should be about 3 pages, typed, double-spaced. No paper will be accepted late. Each is due by 3 PM on the Wednesday indicated and will be used to generate class discussion on the following Monday. 

grading: Each paper will receive a grade of Y or N. 12 Ys equals an A for the semester; 11 Ys, a B; 10 Ys, a C; 9 Ys, a D. Fewer Ys means failure.
Of, if you like, the grading will be in terms of a ladder. With your 9th Y, you will also get the grade of D; that grade cannot be lowered thereafter. The 10th Y comes with the grade of C, and so forth.
How to get an N: it's fairly easy to get a Y; you have to work at getting an N. To get an N: fail to turn in a paper; turn in a paper late (no paper will be accepted after 3 PM on a Wednesday); fail to type a paper; merely summarize the reading; write something irrelevant to the reading; write something incoherent. If you make a focused critical argument in a typed paper that comes in on time, it will get a Y.
I consider this next point important enough to make on the syllabus: I think that a B is a good grade for a course. It will be difficult to complete twelve adequate assignments for this course, even though each individual assignment is relatively simple. Only those students with excellent organizational skills and the ability to produce critical papers consistently will make an A for the course. 

drop policy: drop before final drop date (18 April) guarantees W for the course; drop after that is against university rules. UTA instructors may not drop students for any reason. 

plagiarism policy: See the 1995-97 Catalogue, page 36. All work you submit must be your own. 

disability policy: see pp. 39-40 of the 1995-97 Catalogue and call the Office of Students with Disabilities for more information (272-3364). 


22 January: introductions. Course design. 

27 January: Lecture: A personal, and idiosyncratic, tour through a possible "canon" of American poetry.  

29 January: Paper #1 due: Bradstreet, "The Prologue" (15-18); "Contemplations" (204-215). 

3 February: Discussion: paper #1 

5 February: Paper #2 due: Bradstreet, all poems 215-239; plus: "Upon the Burning of Our House" (292-293) and "As Weary Pilgrim" (294-295). 

10 February: Discussion: Paper #2 

12 February: Paper #3 due: Wheatley, the 1773 Poems (9-124). 

17 February: Discussion: Paper #3. 

19 February: Paper #4 due: Wheatley, other poems and prose (129-187). 

24 February: Discussion: Paper #4. 

26 February: Paper #5 due: Dickinson: 130, 216, 258, 290, 322, 327, 342.
Note: These are not page numbers but poem numbers. Since Dickinson did not title her poems, Thomas H. Johnson assigned them arbitrary numbers, and these numbers have become the standard way of referring to individual poems. 

3 March: Discussion: Paper #5. 

5 March: Paper #6 due: Dickinson: 375, 398, 505, 520, 627, 742. 

10 March: Discussion: Paper #6. 

12 March: Paper #7 due: Dickinson: 754, 812, 930, 944, 978, 986. 



24 March: Discussion: Paper #7. 

26 March: Paper #8 due: Dickinson: 1068, 1084, 1115, 1528, 1677, 1760. 

31 March: Discussion: Paper #8. 

2 April: Paper #9 due: Bishop, "The Map" (3); "The Man-Moth" (14-15); "The Unbeliever" (22); "Roosters" (35-39). 

7 April: Discussion: Paper #9. 

9 April: Paper #10 due: Bishop, "Over 2,000 Illustrations and a Complete Concordance" (57-59); "At the Fishhouses" (64-66); "The Prodigal" (71); "The Shampoo" (84). 

14 April: Discussion: paper #10. 

16 April: Paper #11 due: Bishop, "Questions of Travel" (93-94); "The Armadillo" (103-104); "First Death in Nova Scotia" (125-126); "Sandpiper" (131). 

21 April: Discussion: paper #11. 

23 April: Paper #12 due: Bishop, "In the Waiting Room" (159-161); "The Moose" (169-173); "One Art" (178); "Exchanging Hats" (200-201). 

28 April: Discussion: paper #12. 

30 April: last class meeting, course evaluations.